Wednesday, January 8, 2014

filling your cup

While the rest of the crew, save my injured bro-in-law, “shred” the slopes this afternoon, I decided to bundle up, climb the slippery, snowy hill to a cozy-looking lodge and see if I couldn’t find myself a big leather chair by a fire with some free wifi and a café with  a breve latte. I’m two for four: no wifi and the café isn’t open yet, but the fire is crackling all quintessentially and the arm chair is nearly swallowing me alive with coziness. I’m gonna be just fine, thankyaverymuch. I can open myself up a little Word document, and I found some free tea in the lobby. 

It’s snowing outside—the kind of snow where you can only see a few feet in front of you. It whipped me in the face and poked me in the eyes until I cried a little. And Elvis is playing over the speakers. There’s neither a toddler in sight nor a dirty dish in the vicinity. This is my kinda vacation, y’all.

We are on day four of our six-day getaway in Montana, and I thought I’d be dying from missing Simon by now. I cried packing his little suitcase for Gigi’s house. I buried my head in each pair of his footie jammies before I folded them up and placed them next to his bear.

He is so much of my daily existence. Physically, I am pulling him down off of the kitchen table, directing him to a different plaything when he pushes the buttons on the dishwasher, heaving him up and holding him down on the changing table when he needs a new diaper. Emotionally, too: I am mustering as much patience as I can when he throws a food he loved yesterday on the floor or shamelessly puts it right in the dog’s mouth. I am telling him—once again—that he may not pull all of the food out of the pantry. I am trying to contain my joy when he runs up, kisses me open mouthed and drooling on my face then pats me on the shoulders.

But I haven’t missed him as much as I thought I would.

I’m doing something important, dare I say it: for myself.

I’m allowing myself to hold out my own cup and have it filled again. Motherhood is emptying yourself into another little cup(s) each day. You get to refill, maybe, at the end of the day, after bedtime, unless you have a newborn or a sick baby or someone has a nightmare or you’re in the throes of sleep training. If all the stars align, you get a bit of time to refill, then morning comes, and your cup, again, is tapped. You drip, drip, drip and sometimes pour into the other cups and do it all over again the next day, and the next and even on weekends, because those little cups still wake up at 6:30am on Saturdays.

Which is why I don't feel guilty for needing to take time to fill my own cup without emptying it right away. It’s not always possible, I know. There are seasons where the emptying is a requirement with no “break” in sight: say, having a newborn, for example. That's a season though, and someday, there will be the opportunity to let someone else take the reigns. They can pour from their own cups for a few days, and you can fill yours.

That's not selfish, Mamas. I'm learning that being a good mom doesn't mean I physically have to be with my child all the time. Sometimes, being a good mom looks like stepping away to take care of myself.

When is that last time you were able to fill your cup? What's your favorite way? I like sneaking out to get a haircut or a pedicure by myself, sometimes. You know, because a week-long vacation to Whitefish, Montana prrrrooooobably ain't happening again for awhile.

Love to you, Mamas. I know it's easy to feel like it all goes unseen. I see you. I admire you. I love you.




  1. Awesome! I feel so guilty if I want to do anything for myself. But I need to take time to do it. How on earth do we get past that feeling of guilt? I haven't found that answer yet...

  2. so beautiful and i needed to hear this today, in the throes of parenting a toddler who loves to empty the dishwasher and wrangle himself around during diaper changes and throw food on the floor and go "boneless" when i try to redirect him from the stove/dishwasher/washing machine/fireplace. it's hard, beautiful, sacred work and i couldn't be more grateful for it...but filling my own cup up regularly makes me a better mama for him. thank you for being so honest! it makes me braver. xo